With more and more research coming out about the dangers of uncontrolled social media time. It’s worth reevaluating our use of social media as well as it’s impact on us.
At the heart of social media usage is the desire for social approval.
But what happens when we trade heart-to-hearts for likes, we find ourselves in a bit of a precarious situation when it comes to our mental health.
Maybe it’s time to placate the social approval monster?
If you’re on board, stay with me.
I’m currently reading Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport and it got me thinking about ways I can eliminate the technology that doesn’t add value to my life. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll notice that I don’t post that much on there and go through periods of time where I don’t post at all. In fact I’ve completely deleted it from my phone and will only use it on my computer when I feel like posting content on there. And then I can spend way more time on research, learning, and creating content like web courses and lessons that I post on YouTube. For me, that makes me happy. I’m not suggesting that you need to delete apps from your phone. What I am suggesting is that you take a closer look at the technology you use, how it makes you feel, and why you use it. If you have good reasons for using it, great. But if you feel sad or upset afterwards or have an unquenchable desire to compare yourself to everyone else on that platform or you find yourself placing a lot of emphasis on the number of likes your posts get, then maybe it’s time for a change.
What draws human beings to social media and places significance on the number of likes people get is ultimately validation from other human beings. In our human brains, we treat likes as validation of our self-worth and that is problematic where our mental health is concerned because obviously how many people follow you or how many likes you have do not equate to you as an individual and it speaks nothing of your personality, character, or contribution to society.
If you ask most people why they use social media, whether they tell you or not, what it really comes down to is human beings’ need for social approval.
The definition of social approval according to the American Psychological Association is:
“positive appraisal and acceptance of someone or something (a behavior, trait, attribute, or the like) by a social group. Its manifestations may include compliments, praise, statements of approbation, and so on.”
And within the context of social media, social approval manifests itself in the forms of followers and likes.
Now that we laid the groundwork for social approval, here are 4 ways to pacify the social approval monster and prevent it from overpowering our real world social interactions and self-esteem.
Don’t flood yourself with platforms, do choose your favorite
Inundating yourself with multiple platforms is an easy way to feel overwhelmed. After you’ve listed out the reasons you use the apps you do choose the ones that make most sense for your line of work or leave you feeling good about yourself. If it’s one or two that’s fine. More than that and you might be getting back into flood territory.
Don’t obsessively check your apps, do schedule a time
Instead of compulsively checking your phone and scrolling through your apps, set aside some time each day or each week. Only allow yourself the allotted time. It’s not about willpower, it's about creating systems setting you up for success.
Don’t do it for the likes, do it for the societal contribution
When you use the platforms, think about your reasons for doing so. Is the time you spend on their time worth spent? Because you can’t make more time and time wasted cannot be given back. Time is a finite resource, so we need to be extra mindful of how we spend it. And when it comes to posting content, what’s your reason for posting it? Is there an ulterior motive? Are you doing it for social status? For the likes? For social approval? Maybe consider that each time you post it’s to share some insights, share a lesson you’ve learned and some other value adding content.
Don’t place all the value in your online persona, do cultivate your true persona IRL
Nurture the relationships you have IRL. Work on personal development and enriching yourself mind body spirit. Do activities that make you happy. The more analogue and less digital the better for this exercise. Focus on the people who truly matter to you and care about you and you them.
Think about all the headspace you clear up and actual calendar space you free up. Imagine all that you could be doing with that time. Take up a new hobby? Hone a new skill? Create cool content? What will you do ?
Alright Explearners that’s it from me today. If you liked this video be sure to give it a big thumbs up. Can you think of any other ways to placate the social approval monster? Share that with the Explearning community in the comments down below. And if you want to help our channel continue to grow, share this lesson and our channel with anyone who wants to improve their communication skills and social skills. I’ll see you in the next one! Happy Explearning :)